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Milk Thistle Standardized Extract

Milk Thistle Standardized Extract



COMMON NAMES

Holy Thistle
Lady's thistle
Marian thistle
Mary thistle
Milk Thistle
St. Mary thistle
Silybum

LATIN NAME
Silybum marianum L. Gaertn. or Carduus marianus L.

ORIGIN
Northern America, Europe, moderate climates

PART OF PLANT USED
Seeds

N.B. Milk Thistle fruit is approved by the German Commission E.

DESCRIPTION
Milk thistle was named Silybum by Dioscorides in 100 AD for its large purple thistle-like flower heads. Since ancient times, the plant was valued for its nutritional and medicinal properties. By the Middle Ages the seed of the Milk Thistle was commonly used to treat liver diseases, to promote the flow of bile, and as a general tonic for the stomach, spleen, gallbladder, female organs, and liver.

HISTORICAL USES
Liver disease, acute, chronic hepatitis
Protect liver from toxins, heavy metals, alcohol, poisons
Cholagogue
Fatty degeneration of the liver
Jaundice
Psoriasis
Uterine tonic, menstrual difficulties
Spleen, kidney, gall bladder tonic
Varicose veins

ACTIVE PROPERTIES
Milk Thistle extract has been the subject of numerous clinical trials and studies due to its potent liver protective properties. Milk thistle has been used for hepatitis, viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice, and fatty degeneration of the liver. Milk thistle has been used for indigestion since it promotes the flow of bile and thus helps emulsify fats. A positive therapeutic effect has been reported using silymarin for psoriasis. The Eclectics recommended milk thistle for varicose veins.

ACTIVE SUBSTANCES
Flavonoids (silybin, silydianin, silychristin known collectively as Silymarin)

The average daily dosage in Germany is 12 - 15 g fruit or 200 - 400 mg of silymarin.

PHARMACOLOGY
Milk Thistle contains three potent liver protective flavonoids: silybin, silydianin, and silychristin, known collectively as silymarin. Numerous clinical trials have shown that silymarin and milk thistle extract can protect the liver. Silymarin counteracts the toxic effects of a wide variety of poisons, including alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, acetaminophen overdose, and the Deathcap mushroom, Amanita phalloides which causes death within a day. The mechanism of action of silymarin involves altering the membranes of hepatic cells to inhibit passage of toxins and increasing cellular regeneration by stimulating protein synthesis. Silymarin also has antioxidant activity and inhibits inflammatory enzymes. Recent research has indicated that silymarin helps to protect against depletion of the antioxidant glutathione in liver cells.

TOXICITY, CAUTIONS & CONTRA-INDICATIONS
No known toxicity, even in large doses

The German Commission E status of the herb is "null" or neutral i.e. while it is not approved, there is no documented risk. There may also be some concern over the claims made by manufacturers i.e. they are unproven.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.



DIRECTIONS FOR USE
300-600 mg./day

BIO-ENHANCING AGENTS
Dandelion root, turmeric, flavonoids, artichoke, schisandra

PROCESSING
Milk thistle is harvested and extracted by methyl alcohol. The solution is filtered and evaporated under vacuum. The final defatted suspension is dried in a ventilation oven.

STANDARD
80% Silymarin

ANALYSIS STANDARDIZED EXTRACT

ProductMilk Thistle
TypeStandardized extract
Standardization80% Silymarin
Characterlight brown powder
Solubilitycomplies (limits in ethyl acetate, methanol in soluble chloroform, hexane and water)
Ash0.1% (<0.5%)
TLC IDcomplies
Microbiological Specifications (Pharm. Acta. Helv. 51(3):33-40. 1976)
Gram negativesabsent
Escherichia coliabsent
Staphylococcus aureusabsent
Pseudomonas aeruginosaabsent
Salmonella sp.absent



SCIENTIFIC REFERENCES

Alarcon de la Lastra,C et al., Planta med, 1995, 61(2):116-119.

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Campos, R. et al. (1989) Silybin Dihemisuccinate protects against glutathione depletion and lipid peroxidation induced by acetaminophen on rat liver. Planta Medica. 55:417.

Canini, F. et al. (1985) The use of silymarin in the treatment of alcoholic hepatic stenosis. Clin. Ther. 114:307.

Facts and Comparisons. The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Jan, 1997.

Ferenci, P. et al. (1989) Randomized controlled trial of silymarin treatment in patients with cirrhosis of the liver. J. Hepat. 9:105.

Hruby, C. (1984) Silibinin in the treatment of Deathcap Fungus poisoning. Forum 6:23.

Koch, HP et al. (1985) Silymarin: Potent inhibitor of cyclic AMP phosphodiesterase. Meth. Find. Espt. Clin Pharm. 7:409.

Mowrey, D. (1990) Guaranteed Potency Herbs. A Compilation of writings on the subject.

Mowrey, D. (1986) The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. Cormorant Books.

Weiner, M. (1990) Weiner's Herbal. Mill Valley: Quantum Books.

 


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